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Grossman launches new attack against Coakley

State Treasurer Steven Grossman.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

State Treasurer Steven Grossman.

State Treasurer Steven Grossman today knocked Martha Coakley, one of his Democratic gubernatorial rivals, for her stance on a gun control measure, continuing his effort to question her credentials on criminal justice matters.

The campaign of Grossman, who polls have found to be trailing Coakley, sent out a press release with the punchy subject line, “GROSSMAN DENOUNCES COAKLEY’S SUPPORT FOR UNLIMITED GUN PURCHASES.”

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The campaign cited instances in which Coakley has expressed opposition to a proposal repeatedly put forward by Governor Deval Patrick that would limit gun-buyers to acquiring one firearm per month. Grossman’s campaign did not cite any instances in which Coakley has said specifically she thinks people should be able to buy unlimited numbers of guns.

“Martha Coakley was wrong to side with the NRA in opposing Governor Patrick’s effort to limit gun purchases to one a month,” Grossman said in a statement, referring to the National Rifle Association, a major bogeyman for liberal voters.

Tim Foley, Coakley’s campaign manager, said Coakley had worked her whole public career to make communities safer, understands the root causes of violence, and has promoted violence prevention policies.

“Among other public safety measures, she has supported closing the gun show loophole, banning assault weapons, and background checks for gun purchases. Martha has sat with the families impacted by violent crimes, and prosecuted hundreds of dangerous criminals, including cases involving gun violence,” he said in a statement.

Before being elected attorney general, Coakley was the district attorney for Middlesex County, the state’s largest by population.

Since February, Grossman has ramped up his attacks on Coakley, seen by political analysts as the Democratic frontrunner to succeed Patrick, who has said he is not running for a third term.

In the race for the Democratic primary nomination, polls have found Grossman trailing Coakley by a substantial margin. One mid-March survey by the MassINC Polling Group for WBUR found Coakley leading Grossman by about 30 percentage points among likely Democratic voters, while the three other Democratic contenders lagged further behind.

They are Juliette Kayyem, a former state and federal homeland security official; Donald M. Berwick, the former chief of the country’s massive Medicaid and Medicare programs; and Joe Avellone, a biopharmaceutical executive.

Only the candidates who receive at least 15 percent of the delegate vote at the state Democratic Party convention in June will be eligible to make the Sept. 9 primary ballot.

Two Republicans are running for governor: businessman Mark R. Fisher and 2010 GOP nominee Charlie Baker.

Three independent candidates are also in the race: Evan Falchuk, a lawyer and former business executive; venture capital investor Jeffrey S. McCormick; and evangelical Christian pastor Scott Lively.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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